Preview: Southampton vs. Norwich City

Preview: Southampton vs. Norwich City

Southampton will be looking to continue their impressive form in the Premier League when they welcome relegation-threatened Norwich City to St Mary’s on Friday night.

The Saints are currently 10th in the table, one point behind ninth-placed Brighton & Hove Albion, while Norwich are back at the bottom, now five points from the safety of 17th position.

Southampton have found an impressive run of form at a vital stage of the season, losing just one of their last 11 matches in all competitions, which has seen them advance in the FA Cup and move up into 10th spot in the table, just one point behind ninth-placed Brighton heading into Friday’s clash with Norwich.

Since losing at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the middle of January, the Saints have beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Everton in the league, in addition to drawing with Manchester City and Manchester United.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side secured all three points against Everton last weekend courtesy of second-half goals from Stuart Armstrong and Shane Long, and they will be bidding to record their eighth Premier League victory of the season against the struggling Canaries.

Southampton have only lost one of their 12 home league matches this season, which is a record only bettered by Liverpool (zero), but they have shared the points on seven occasions at St Mary’s, and their volume of draws has prevented them from challenging for a potential European spot.

Hasenhuttl’s side will face West Ham in the FA Cup either side of their league games against Norwich and Aston Villa, and it will be fascinating to see what the team can achieve this term, particularly as they have finished 17th, 16th and 15th in three of their last four Premier League campaigns.

Norwich, meanwhile, won back-to-back league matches against Everton and Watford last month before opening February with a welcome point at home to Crystal Palace.

The impressive run of form moved the Canaries off the bottom of the division, but they are back down in 20th following successive defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool, conceding seven times in the two matches.

Dean Smith’s side have two huge matches against Brentford and Leeds United in the early stages of March, which are the contests that will decide whether they will avoid relegation back to the Championship.

The Canaries are only one point behind 18th-placed Watford but sit five behind 17th-placed Newcastle, who also have a game in hand, and it would be fair to say that the Magpies are looking impressive in their battle to avoid a shock relegation to the Championship.

Norwich have not been able to secure back-to-back seasons of top-flight football since 2012-13 and 2013-14, having dropped straight back into the Championship following their last two promotions, and Smith faces a huge battle to get them out of trouble in the coming weeks.

Southampton Premier League form:
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Southampton form (all competitions):
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Norwich City Premier League form:
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Norwich City form (all competitions):
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We say: Southampton 2-1 Norwich City
Southampton have won their last four home games against Norwich in all competitions, while the Saints are unbeaten in their last 10 matches at St Mary’s. Norwich are capable of finding the back of the net on Friday evening, but we are expecting Hasenhuttl’s side to collect all three points.

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